Troy woman indicted on manslaughter charge

Charged in connection with the Jan. 12, death of her 7 week old son
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Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 8:45am
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ROCKLAND — A Troy woman has been indicted on manslaughter charges relating to the January death of her infant son.

Miranda Hopkins, 31, came to the attention of law enforcement after placing a 9-1-1 call in the early hours of Jan. 12, according to court documents.

Hopkins reportedly told Waldo County Dispatch that her infant son wasn’t breathing, and was cold to the touch.

Waldo County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Casey McDonald arrived at the home to find the infant, not yet two months of age, “covered in bruises,” according to an affidavit.

McDonald attempted to render aid to the infant while awaiting the arrival of an ambulance. Once an emergency medical technician arrived they took over care of the infant, who was found to be without signs of life after roughly 20 minutes of CPR.

The Maine State Police Major Crimes Unit was notified of the child’s death, with Detective Sergeant Jason Richards arriving at the scene less than two hours after Hopkins called emergency services. She reportedly waived her Miranda rights and agreed to an interview with Richards.  

Hopkins reportedly told law enforcement that things had been typical the prior evening, with her going to bed at roughly 9 p.m. In addition to her seven week old infant, Hopkin’s other two children, both under 10, were also in the home.

Hopkins said the infant, who slept in bed with her, was warm and breathing at 10:30 p.m., but that when she awoke at 1:47 a.m., he was cold to the touch and had visible bruising to the head.

Though she described herself as a light sleeper, Hopkins told Det. Richards that she had not heard the baby cry during the night and was unsure of what had happened. She also told law enforcement she had consumed two shots of liquor at roughly 2 p.m. the previous day, but stated she was not intoxicated when she put her infant to bed, or when she herself went to bed shortly after.

Later the same morning Detective Benjamin Sweeney, of the Major Crimes Unit, met with Hopkins at her home, where she walked him through the earlier events. She reported placing the baby in a C-shaped “Boppy” pillow before laying down herself, and stated he was still in the ‘Boppy’ when she discovered him deceased.

Hopkins said she wasn’t sure what had woken her at 1:47 a.m., but that she had gotten up to search for her cell phone, finding one of her older children asleep on a sofa. It was when she turned on a light that Hopkins said she noticed bruises on her infant’s head, according to an affidavit.

Hopkins was reportedly adamant that the infant was uninjured when she put him to bed and that she did not know how the injuries occurred.

Family members who had seen the child the night prior to his death also told detectives that the baby did not appear injured when they saw him. They characterized Hopkins as a dedicated mother who had never been violent to their knowledge. 

In an interview the evening of Jan. 12, Hopkins reportedly told law enforcement she had taken a Benadryl the previous evening. She maintained that she did not know what happened to the child, though she eventually disclosed that she may have drank more than two shots of alcohol the night before his death.

According to court documents, Hopkins questioned whether or not she had “blacked out,” prior to the child’s death.

A postmortem examination of the infant was completed and the cause of death revealed to be “blunt force head injuries,” according to an affidavit. The child also suffered skull fractures, bleeding on the brain, and fractures to his right shoulder and rib. The manner of death was determined to be homicide by a deputy chief medical examiner.

In an interview Jan. 13, Hopkins maintained her innocence.

Hopkins was arrested and charged with murder the same day.

Though initially booked into Waldo County Jail, Hopkins was transferred to Two Bridges Regional Jail a  short time later. She reportedly requested to speak with law enforcement again Jan. 15, while incarcerated.

During this meeting she told Detective Andrews that she had actually drank substantially more than two shots of liquor, now approximating her intake as roughly ⅙ of a bottle of whiskey. She also stated she was markedly intoxicated the evening of the child’s death.  Hopkins reportedly said she had been afraid to admit her level of intoxication when speaking with law enforcement prior.

In this version of events, Hopkins stated she thought she had “passed out” while putting her two older children to bed and did not know how the infant ended up in her bed, or in his ‘Boppy’ pillow. It was after waking in her older children’s room that Hopkins said she found the baby deceased.

Hopkins was charged with knowing or depraved indifference to murder, though the charge was later amended to manslaughter.

Hopkins was indicted by a Knox County Grand Jury in lieu of waiting for the next Waldo County Grand Jury to convene.

Conditions of release were set Feb. 7, and include bail requirements of abstaining from any drugs or alcohol, and not having contact with any children under the age of six. Hopkins has since been released from custody.

She is next scheduled to appear in Waldo County Unified Criminal Court Feb. 27.


Erica Thoms can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com